Pre-Five Services and Children with Disabilities: Six Case Studies in Strathclyde Region

Jefferies, Edward Campbell Scott (1991) Pre-Five Services and Children with Disabilities: Six Case Studies in Strathclyde Region. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The research is designed to investigate Strathclyde Region's Pre-Five Sub-Committee's policy of making provision for children with disabilities in mainstream pre-five services. Existing practice in providing for children with disabilities is identified as a natural research topic. The literature is reviewed; that which is specifically relevant to pre-fives is set in the context of the literature on school age children. Written policies on integration at national and local government level are examined. The rationales for these policies are discussed. Neither offers a decisive direction for research into practice. Three traditions of enquiry in the field are reviewed. The educational psychology tradition faces methodological difficulties and its hypothesis testing mode is not suited to investigating practice. The educational case study tradition is relevant to the research topic but in practice has tended to leave theoretical questions unexamined. The sociological tradition has provided theoretical insights but these refer to a different group of school age children. Criteria are established for a satisfactory approach. These criteria are used to identify an appropriate research approach. An open ended micro-ethnographic, case study method is indicated. As the research is concerned with subjective and inter-subjective meaning, phenomenological and symbolic interactionist concepts are relevant to the description of provision. A more general framework for theoretical analysis is required and a broadly structuralist approach is proposed. The key concept in the analysis is that of pedagogy. An analogy is drawn between pedagogy and language. Reasons are advanced for treating case study descriptions as texts. Some criticisms of a structuralist approach are considered and a modified position is described. This refers to ideas drawn from poststructuralism, particularly those of deconstruction. Specific research methodology is discussed. A standard format for the case studies is described. The methods included are outlined; namely, a purpose-designed interview schedule, extensive unstructured observation, a structured observation schedule and audio recording. Each method offers triangulation for the others. Piloting of data-gathering methods is discussed. It is argued that three forms of account should be given of the case study data: a descriptive account, an analytical account and a substantive theoretical account. Methods for providing the first two forms of account are discussed. The concept of perspective is seen as particularly relevant. Case studies of two day nurseries, two nursery schools and two children's centres are described. The descriptions cover the setting, access, informants, provision for children in general and provision for children with disabilities. The last topic looks at the experience of one particular child who was observed in detail. Intertwined with the descriptive information are summaries of the pedagogical perspectives which are embodied in the work of the establishments. These pedagogical perspectives do not offer a means of relating micro and macro social features and means of doing so are discussed. The case studies are treated as texts which are analysed by looking at discourses within them. These discourses are ideal-typical constructs derived by a comparative method. The necessity of looking at absent discourses which are part of these ideal typical discourses is argued. The absent discourses are seen to be present in the form of traces; three forms of traces are discussed, traces of psychological theories, repressed political traces and traces of historical discourses. A substantive theoretical account is provided in which these traces are detected in discourses which refer to nursery provision, the curriculum and disability. Interactional and organisational practices are also discussed. The implications of each discourse for children with disabilities is discussed throughout. The complex nature of pedagogy in pre-five services emerges. Conclusions are reached about the implications of the case studies for the policy and its development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Early childhood education, Special education, Education policy
Date of Award: 1991
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1991-78319
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 15:33
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 15:33

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